Bite into history near Charleston, South Carolina.
By Hope S. Philbrick
Charleston, South Carolina is a contemporary city that embraces its past. From culinary traditions to architecture, from the cobblestone streets to the culture, the present and the past mingle.
That means as a visitor you might buy the hottest fashion trend from a boutique store downtown and later that same day find yourself standing in a field that has been farmed continuously for over three centuries.
One of America’s oldest working farms, Boone Hall Plantation was founded in 1681 when Englishman Major John Boone came to Charleston and established a plantation on the banks of Wampacheone Creek.
1681. That’s almost a century before the United States of America was founded!
Located about a half-hour drive from downtown Charleston, Boone Hall’s more than 700 acres are planted with diverse crops, such as collards, broccoli, butternut squash, pecan orchards, peach orchards, pumpkins radishes, arugula, kale, okra and more. U-Pick crops include strawberries, tomatoes, and blackberries. Much of the produce is sold to local restaurants, but there’s also an on-field tented market when produce is in peak season as well as seasonal festivals to showcase specific products (e.g., the “Lowcountry Strawberry Festival,” April 20-23, 2017).
Any time of year, you can stock up on food at Boone Hall Farms Market (located 1/2 mile north of Long Point Rd. on Hwy. 17 North in Mt. Pleasant). This farm store is a foodie haven with fresh produce, fresh seafood, wine, specialty foods and signature products, an award-winning butcher shop, prepared foods, a market café, and much more.
Boone Hall has been named the No. 1 Plantation in the Charleston area by USA Today and offers a variety of tours, including some focused on Gullah culture, the house, the gardens, black history and other topics. The Antebellum-style mansion was completed in 1936 and is listed on the National Registry of Historic Places. But it’s the ten original slave cabins that have even greater historic significance and should not be missed; through its exhibits each cabin presents a different period in black history and can be investigated on a self-guided tour if preferred.
At Boone Hall Plantation & Gardens, you can feed your mind and body.
Odds of Encountering Children: Varies, depending on time of day and year visited as well as your personal general luck. But it’s a big place, so even if a field trip of squealing school children is on site, you can find quiet space.
The first Sunday in December Boone Hall Plantation hosts its annual Wine Under The Oaks festival, one of the most popular Christmas holiday events in the South Carolina Lowcountry. (Tickets will go on sale in July.) The event showcases more than 100 wine labels under 58 tents and is strictly for adults age 21 and older. A new dinner on Friday night to kick-off the event will be held for the first time this year. 21 Plus Salute!
Boone Hall Plantation & Gardens
1235 Long Point Rd. 29464
Mount Pleasant SC
- Boone Hall Plantation is “America’s Most Photographed Plantation.” Several movies and TV shows were filmed on the property including Alex Haley’s Queen, North & South, and The Notebook.
- Blake Lively and Ryan Reynolds got married at Boone Plantation. Another celebrity and her fiancé were touring the site on the day of my visit, but I promised not to reveal identities because I don’t think grownups care to ruin anyone’s private celebration.
– Photos © HSP Media LLC
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